No fewer than 430 prisoners across the country are now pursuing their various degree programmes at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to enhance their status just as 951 others regained freedom due to the intervention of National Stakeholders on Prison Reforms.
Three others are said to be on the verge of completing their doctorate degree in other universities in the country.
The prisoners were allowed to enroll for the University education as part of new reforms being implemented by the Federal Government to make life out of prison meaningful for the ex convicts.
The National Public Relations Officers of the Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) Francis Enebore disclosed this at a media briefing on the forthcoming February 1 Public Presentation of Survey Reports on the Nigerian Prisons.
Enebore said that the Open University was gracious in admitting the prisoners for their higher education to make them better citizens of the nation adding that well meaning Nigerians, religious and corporate bodies have been assisting the ex convicts in providing for their educational needs.
He also said that fines imposed on the ex-convicts by various courts in the country were offset by the National Stakeholders to pave way for their final release.
.” the prisoners are now fully engaged in the production of food for themselves and the country in the new farm settlement schemes established in some states of the federation.
At the moment, he said that 17 farm settlements in Kaduna was already producing beans in commercial quantities, Bauchi farms , rice and Edo farms production of palm oil for the prisoners and the nation.
Enebore commended the new reform initiative stressing that the N450 feeding cost per prisoner in a day was grossly inadequate hence, the introduction of the farm settlement schemes.
He announced that 22 tractors have been procured by the federal government and distributed to prisons for the used of prisoners across the country to enhance their farming skills in the production of mainly food crops adding that a good number of tractors are also underway for delivery before the year runs out.
“In the education sector, I am pleased to announce that 430 of our prisoners are running various degree courses at the National Open University of Nigeria, the new reform efforts allowed them to access university education in order to make life out of prison meaningful for them”.
“At the same time, 951 others have been set free by the Nigerian Prison Services due to the intervention of the National Stakeholders which paid various fines imposed on them by various courts as conditions for their freedom”.
“In the agriculture, massive revolution is going on with prisoners now engaging in full scale commercial farming. At the moment, we have our farm settlement in Kaduna where the Prisoners have produced huge quantities of beans, in Bauchi where rice had been produced and Edo where our farm settlement is involved in the production of palm oil”.
“The new prison reform is aimed at making the prisoners to produce food crops and grains for their own consumption as well as the nation at large”